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Encouraging 9 year old boy to write?


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#1 ziggyplaid

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Posted 03 October 2015 - 05:43 PM

My 9 year old son struggles with wanting to write.  He is my oldest boy, so I am not sure if it is a personality thing or a "boy" thing?  This is my first experience with teaching a 4th grade boy. We are doing WWE 3 and a variety of other writing assignments.  He does okay with WWE, but I don't feel like it is enough.  (I don't see enough carry-over into other areas of his life....He can write an okay sentence with correct punctuation, but cannot write a cohesive paragraph on his own without a lot of guidance.)   I just feel like he 'should' be capable of more at this stage. I realize that kids develop at different rates, and he has definitely been on his own timetable in a few areas since birth, but overall he is holding his own in every subject except writing and spelling.  I just want to make sure I am supporting him and helping him in every way I can, and I am not sure what else to do.

 

Any thoughts or suggestions from moms of boys?  

 



#2 texasmama

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Posted 03 October 2015 - 05:56 PM

Both of my boys at this age were reluctant writers.  Little dd, age 9, enjoys writing.  It sounds like you are doing what you need to do.  Neither of my boys enjoy writing STILL, but both of them can write a cohesive paragraph.

 

I did Writing Tales with both of them around that age/stage and neither of them protested too much.  Both of them hated WWE so much that we finally gave it up at or after level 3.  Little dd is doing Writing Tales, as well, but she does a lot of creative writing on her own.

 

I would not worry or do more with a kid this age.  Some kids are writers and some are not.  All have to learn the skill.  For a point of reference, I am teaching a 9th grade English class in a co-op setting with ten kids ranging in age from 12-16.  Of the ten, two are natural writers with a clear "voice", seven are "get 'er done" writers, and one needs remedial assistance.  My two boys are in my class and fall in the "get 'er done" category.  I'm fine with that.


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#3 EKS

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Posted 03 October 2015 - 06:15 PM

Does he know how to type?  For both of my boys, being allowed to type their assignments (and whatever else) was a turning point.



#4 ziggyplaid

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Posted 03 October 2015 - 09:26 PM

I have had him type his stories occasionally, but he does not type well. It takes him about an hour to do one sentence because he gets distracted easily. :)

Texasmama Thank you so much for your thoughts. That is encouraging to hear. My daughter who is 11 is a natural writer so I am having to learn knew strategies with my son. It helps to hear your perspective as a writing teacher, too. I am going to look into Writing Tales.
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#5 OhElizabeth

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 12:21 PM

If he gets distracted (hehehe, not limited to boys!), you might bring in some EF (executive function) supports for his writing.  It's not too early to begin using Kidspiration or Inspiration software.  If you have a tablet, they have app versions.  I started my dd with a free app called Popplet.  Any mindmapping software will work.  Inspiration/Kidspiration happens to be especially fantastic, because it takes the visual map and converts it to a traditional outline form to write from.  This helps kids whose brains are *all over the place* slow down, organize, and see that their thoughts actually ARE able to become something linear and orderly.  

 

Like Texas, we did well with Writing Tales.  WT is going to use a form of keyword outlining, much like IEW.  Remember, ANY of that you can do with the software to make it more visual.  You can type, you can scribe for him, and you can even go BIG, writing on large tablets.  My dd had a huge initiation hump, where she had to get everything in her brain, wrapping her brain around it before she could start.  It was horrible.  So the more support you provide in that process, the better.  It's never a problem to provide more support, because as they no longer need it they'll naturally pull away or take it over themselves.

 

I like the How to Report on Books series for that age.  It walks them through narrations but with a bit more structure and with some literary elements as a bonus.  The Mrs. Renz book projects were fabulous at that age.  They're more creative and they can be appealing to kids who have that spatial, creative, distractible thing going.  You might also look for things that require very short bursts of writing, like the Michael Gravois books.  You can get them as ebooks, or maybe your library will have them.  He has books for country projects, etc., and none will require more than short segments of writing.

 

It's not what you want to hear, but the things that helped my dd most get over this and get more comfortable writing were time (years, age 13/14), typing (so she could get her thoughts out easily, her handwriting was crunchy), and metronome therapy.  The  instructions for metronome work are on LC, if you search for heathermomster's posts.  Basic idea is that anything done with a metronome is targeting the Executive Function portion of the brain that tends to be delayed in distractible kids.  I did metronome work with her, following heathermomster's instructions, adding in digit spans for working memory as she got better at the basic moves.  Working memory is what you need to hold all your thoughts, organize them, and get your words out.  Working memory tends to be very low in kids with struggles with writing, etc.  In fact, ANYTHING you do that works on working memory will be good.  You could play Ticket to Ride (a board game) every day and build his working memory, and it would in turn improve his ability to hold his thoughts, organize them, and get them out.  Do it and see.   :)

 


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#6 Runningmom80

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 01:14 PM

Brave Writer is working with my reluctant writer! 

 

We have been doing Friday free-writes, and I let him choose the topic.  At the moment, he seems to be writing a weekly serial story based on Star Wars. It's not exactly academic, but he's putting the pencil to the paper, which is way more than I could have said this time last year.

 

We are also doing Partnership Writing, and he just started his first monthly project, "The story of me," (or something like that) He gets to type on the computer and talk about himself, two of his favorite things. :laugh:

 

I chose Brave Writer because FLL and MCT grammar were both fails and I wanted something that would lure him in.  He just doesn't like really formulaic writing, a la a 3 paragraph essay.  I know this is a required skill, but I'm not worried about what we are doing now evolving into more academic writing. 



#7 MerryAtHope

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 12:34 PM

You mentioned that he also struggles with spelling--often kids find it really difficult to put their thoughts on paper if they are having to think about how to represent (spell) every word. If they don't have at least 1000 common words mastered, it's really difficult to organize thoughts and hold onto them long enough to get them on paper. You might need to focus more on spelling first, and use dictation to help him build up stamina and fluency in writing, then on good independent sentences...build more incrementally, in other words. 



#8 smileyme

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 12:59 PM

My daughter writes often, she likes it okay. Her hand writing is famous for being neat, someone called it pearls :) Average vocab, we got a free assessment done once, and they mentioned she has good penmanship. I think she has lots of ideas, but needs help in putting them as organized thoughts. She also needs to reason a bit better for the statements she writes. She is third grade, doing 4'th grade English, but I am looking for ways to improve her Creative Writing. For e.g. Her stories go on forever :p.  They need a better conclusion.


Edited by smileyme, 17 February 2016 - 01:00 PM.


#9 Medusara

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 01:34 PM

I hope this year's writing has gotten better for you. Sorry I'm not going to be very helpful to you in answering your questions, since I am in the same perplexing boat as you. Writing has become the main battleground for me and my eight-year-old boy.  He is otherwise a very good student.  He enjoys reading, does very well in math, loves history and science, memorizes Latin, and practices the piano.  But when it comes to writing, the bottom falls out. 

 

I have done Writing With Ease last year and this year (we are in level 2), but I find he really struggles with it.  He finds the narration exercises tedious. (I tried the workbook this year, since last year he balked at combining WWE and other subjects. He always accused me of "adding extra stuff").  He whines/complains/cries over every copywork and dictation assignment. I often shorten the required writing selections, due to this problem. He also hates writing his spelling words, so I know some of this problem is simply a distaste for the physical discipline of writing.  However, he also gets frustrated summarizing passages.  Despite weeks and weeks of me asking him "leading questions" to help him summarize, he gets hung up on details, and also in trying to make the sentences as short as he can, since he will have to write one of them.

 

I'm rethinking what I should do for next year.  I'm considering just having handwriting and grammar and dropping formal writing altogether, but making sure he does more writing in his other subjects.

 

Any thoughts and ideas on this?



#10 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 11:09 PM

I hope this year's writing has gotten better for you. Sorry I'm not going to be very helpful to you in answering your questions, since I am in the same perplexing boat as you. Writing has become the main battleground for me and my eight-year-old boy.  He is otherwise a very good student.  He enjoys reading, does very well in math, loves history and science, memorizes Latin, and practices the piano.  But when it comes to writing, the bottom falls out. 

 

I have done Writing With Ease last year and this year (we are in level 2), but I find he really struggles with it.  He finds the narration exercises tedious. (I tried the workbook this year, since last year he balked at combining WWE and other subjects. He always accused me of "adding extra stuff").  He whines/complains/cries over every copywork and dictation assignment. I often shorten the required writing selections, due to this problem. He also hates writing his spelling words, so I know some of this problem is simply a distaste for the physical discipline of writing.  However, he also gets frustrated summarizing passages.  Despite weeks and weeks of me asking him "leading questions" to help him summarize, he gets hung up on details, and also in trying to make the sentences as short as he can, since he will have to write one of them.

 

I'm rethinking what I should do for next year.  I'm considering just having handwriting and grammar and dropping formal writing altogether, but making sure he does more writing in his other subjects.

 

Any thoughts and ideas on this?

You might want to separate out the physical act from getting thoughts on paper.  Scribe for him when it is content based.  Do actual writing exercises separately so he can work on improving the physical act of writing without it hindering his ability to gain skills in putting thoughts into coherent sentences.  There are a ton of different processes that go into getting words onto paper.  If some of those processes are lagging behind others it can make the whole system lurch along very inefficiently, leaving the child frustrated and resistant.

 

And I highly recommend starting a child on a formal typing program if they struggle with the physical act.  It can take a looooong time to master typing for some (and some really just can't but most can) so the sooner it is started and done consistently (daily) the greater the likelihood that typing will become a helpful means of output.  TouchTypeReadSpell is really great because the lessons are not timed (timed lessons can be hugely hurtful and damaging to a child that struggles with the physical act of writing and typing so I urge parents to stay away from typing programs that emphasize speed).  The emphasis is on accuracy.  Speed comes with time and practice.  Work on accuracy of finger placement, finger pressure, and body posture.  Just a few minutes every day.  It also helps with spelling.  Homeschool Buyer's Coop sometimes has it on sale.



#11 Shalott25

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 08:48 PM

I would not fret that a 4th grader does not have it down. I worked with both my kids (girl and boy).  I teach composition in college and Early College (the smart high schoolers taking college classes).  Learning to write a good paragraph is a challenge for some people all the way into college.  Not to say, wait til college to worry.  Just saying, It takes some kids (boys and girls) a lot time.  I suggest you just keep coaching him in proper paragraph format.  

 

I provide checklists for my students.

 

Example Prompts:

Does my first (topic) sentence tell my audience what my paragraph is about?

Do all the sentences in the paragraph prove my topic sentence?

Do I have clear sub-points?  I think this is vital and too often overlooked making for paragraphs of jumbled information loosely related, often repetitive, and disorganized.

Is all the information for each sub-point grouped together?

Do I use a variety of appeals--logos, pathos, and ethos?

Do I have a concluding sentence that connects to my topic sentence and wraps up my paragraph?